Please don't tell me I'm the only one who does this--forget the color of my hero's eyes or the color of my heroine's hair. Any number of details in a novel can be skewed or mixed up or completely changed during the writing.
I should know better by now. After nine novels and numerous novellas, I still work my way into the same quandary.
When I taught high school students, I was always ready and organized. In fact, over the years, I earned the nickname of "Miss Organization" as if it were tattooed across my forehead, along with "Teacher."
Now? I don't know what happened to me once I left teaching and later began writing stories. Why can I not use those same skills of organization with writing?
My friend Cheryl Pierson teaches a writing class in Oklahoma, and she shared handouts with me. This was a very generous act, and I do read through them on occasion. However, if I took her class now, she'd give me a failing grade because of my slap-hazard writing.
But I cannot break the pattern.
One handout was Characterization Traits. This is one of the most important, and if I had any sense, I'd sit down and write out my hero's physical traits first.
It's not complicated.
Height-6 ft. (Aren't all heroes tall? They don't have to be.)
Build--broad shoulders and narrow hips. (Aren't all heroes...never mind.)
Added to these traits are:
Color of his horse--was it a red roan or a black stallion?
Age--is he twenty-five or thirty?
Some time ago, I read how an author tackled this problem. All her heroes were just alike, and all her heroines were, too--according to color of hair and eyes, especially. I recall her writing, "All my heroes have brown eyes, and all my heroines have blue eyes."
There you go! Problem solved!
Except that doesn't always work. A character has a way of presenting himself/herself exactly as he/she is. Sometimes we just don't have control over this. When the character appears, he's fully fleshed out and who am I to change the color of his eyes?
As of this moment, TEXAS DREAMER is 3/4 complete. And as of this moment I have no idea what color are his eyes or his hair. No, wait, his hair is black because he is a descendent of The Camerons of Texas. They're all dark-haired. Eyes. Nope, can't remember.
I'll need a half day to sit down with all my scribbled notes that are in a spiral, on note cards, and on sticky notes to determine the physical characteristics of my characters. Then, I'll need to do a Find and Highlight in order to correct all my errors.
I swear, this is the last time I do this. From now on--Organize is my middle name.